Thursday, May 5, 2016

TAG Interviews Alison Lowe Platt

Instinct is Alison Lowe Platt's current show at TAG.
Alison Lowe Platt, Lost In Her Thoughts, Mixed media, 15 x 20" 
We asked her a few questions:

Where did you grow up? Do you feel that your early environment had an influence on your artistic development?
 I grew up in New Jersey and creativity was all over my family. My dad sang and created amazing “doodles” all over his work. After he passed away, I saved a bunch of his note books which always remind me of him. My grandparents were pianists, as well as my grandmother was a master needle-pointer and my grandfather a writer. My aunt taught me how to draw at 6 years old. She is amazing with everything paper, collage, calligraphy and origami.

When did you first realize you were an artist (or have the courage to identify yourself as an artist)? 
 I was always “the artist” among my childhood friends, although I refused to take any art classes until college. I just didn’t want to be told what to create. But I don’t think I considered myself an artist until after college, when I kept painting etc. without the structure of classes, and just realized that it’s how I love to spend my time.
Alison Lowe Platt, Male From the Back, Charcoal, 18 x 16"
As an artist working in more than one medium -- paints and charcoal pencil -- do you find that the two mediums influence each other? If so, in what ways, and how do you decide which to use?
 I usually know what mood I’m in, whether I feel like working in black and white, or with color…that seems to determine whether I’m going to draw or paint. They both influence each other because even with drawing, I think in terms of shape rather than line because I come from a painting background, and I have really never taken anatomy classes. My interest is not in creating perfectly drawn, proportionate bodies. My interest is really in shape and dark/light relationships, and I draw the figure out of that way of thinking, rather than anatomical. I also love the interaction of background/foreground in all my work and the contrast of a linear background against the roundedness of the figure.
Alison Lowe Platt, Repose, Acrylic on board 11.5 x 13.5"
How do you decide on your color palette? 
 I always prefer working in a limited palette. I feel it creates a strong color harmony. For each of these paintings, I only used 5 colors. I love the surprise of mixing new colors I’ve discovered because of the limited palette. It also takes me out of a comfort zone because I have to really think not only about color, but value and hue.

How do you like people to view your work—from across the room, or close up?
 I like people to first see it from afar and then move in closer. I love strong shapes and it reads well from afar. Then when you get up close, you see all the subtleties.

How is working with/from photographs different than working with models? 
 When drawing or painting the figure, I absolutely MUST work from life. It’s extremely important for me to get a sense of the models energy, and sense if and where their body is relaxed or tense. There is simply no way to get this from a photograph. I need the breathing being in front of me.
Alison Lowe Platt, Inward Thinking, Pastel collage, 22 x 16"
Is scale important to you as an artist? 
 Yes, in my land/seascapes, I like to work large so you feel a part of the scene, but with the figure, I always like to work small. I feel there is a sense of intimacy and grace that seems to get lost in a larger scale.

Whom do you make art for? 
 Definitely myself. I love getting lost in the process of creating, and the discoveries that come with it. Even if I don’t like the end result, I have never left a day of painting and thought, "I wish I didn’t do that today."  It’s how I see and process the world.

What is it like getting ready for an exhibition - are there any special considerations that you have to deal with? 
 It’s definitely a process. I create so many different types of work that I just have to pick either one subject, or one medium and go from there. I also have recurring themes in all my work, regardless of the medium, which is really evident once I look through years of artwork! I move from being anxious about it, to gaining excitement. And then there seems to always be a moment, where I feel it all click, and then I see it all come together. I actually love showing my work because I don’t actually talk about it a lot to my friends etc. so it’s fun to show them what I’ve been up to. Also, once the show is hung, I try and take a few minutes to think…”What did I learn from this show?” Each show has taught me something about myself, and that I am capable of creating a cohesive body of work.

What is the most memorable comment someone has made about your work? 
 At the reception for this show! An older man with a thick European accent came up to me and said, “YOU draw delicious breasts!” It made me laugh so hard.
Alison Lowe Platt, Torn & Torso, Mixed media, 24 x 18"
Have you had any surprises putting together this show?
 Yes, the surprise for me was actually in realizing that these small drawings and paintings I've done over a 10 year span, actually are complete grouping. All of these works were created while raising my kids, and at a time when I didn’t even have the time to really focus on my artwork. I would attend uninstructed figure drawing groups at night, or loosely instructed painting groups here or there, and really had no idea how “complete” the pieces were, I was just so happy to spend the time creating art, then I would come home and put them away in my flat files. It wasn’t until I realized that I didn’t have enough cohesive new work for a show, that I discovered how these pieces really worked together.

Where do you see your journey as an artist going from here? 
 I know that I want to continue to be more intuitive and loose. This means, leaving more messes, spills, broken lines etc. I find I am very instinctual and quick in the beginning and love the “unfinished” look but somehow, I can lose that feeling if I work too long. I am learning when to stop. This also means continuing to more towards more abstraction. Now that my kids are teenagers, I have found I’ve got a lot more time for my artwork and it’s been really fun to put more time into it and get lost in it. I’m starting to work bigger, crazier, and messier. I still love the same subjects, whether it’s the figure, land/sea, spiritual epiphanies, so it’s not so much that my subjects will change, as much as the approach and how I want to interpret them.
Alison Lowe Platt, Seated, Acrylic on board, 14.5 x 12.5"

Alison will be part of an Artist Panel at TAG this Saturday, May 7, 3pm.
Feel free to leave her any questions here in the comments.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Artist Spotlight: Linda Sue Price on Bending Glass

Bending glass is the process of heating glass over fire until it becomes pliable. 
Linda Sue Price explains her process and progress. 
Linda Sue Price, Nothing Is Black and White, Neon, 15 x 15" 
When I first started to learn how to bend my intention was to bend free form. However, in order to get in touch with the glass I had to practice bending to pattern. Pattern bending comes from the head whereas freeform comes from the gut.

When bending freeform I feel very connected to the glass. It’s like having a conversation with the glass. Some times the communication flows and other times not.
Pattern bending is another issue. But finally after years of practice and the desire to be able to create specific forms, I am now learning how to surrender to the pattern. There are so many things to consider when bending to pattern—how you go into the fire and come out of it so you are positioned to land easily on the pattern.
Other challenges I faced was under heating and twisting the glass. The idea is to heat the right amount of glass for the bend you are making, get it hot enough and heat it evenly.
There are three types of fires used to heat the glass. The ribbon burner—my favorite—for making loop shapes; the cross fire for specific small movements like V’s, U’s, and L’s; and the hand torch for delicate work like attaching electrodes or making small adjustments. The hand torch has less heat so it’s ideal for small, delicate corrections.

In my pattern practice, I’ve struggled with making U bends without getting kinking on the inside. I discovered that I was twisting the glass coming out of the fire. It would look great when I came out of the fire but by the time I got it to the pattern on the work bench, it would kink. After some focused practice I figured out that I was twisting the glass so I spent practice time breaking that habit.

Then I discovered I was under heating the glass. I started under heating because when the glass is hot enough it was too easy to accidentally stretch the glass. By under heating I eliminated the stretching but then I got kinks because the glass wasn’t hot enough.

Once I started getting the glass hot enough, I struggled with overinflation. Part of the process of bending is having a blow hose attached so you can inflate the glass when it gets hot to keep it from collapsing.
There is no scientific process to this. It’s just hours of practice and learning to read the glass.

Then there is the mind. If you over concentrate on the bend you loose it. If you don’t focus you loose it so you have to find the balance. Listening to music while bending helps but some times I start dancing and get distracted..

Currently I’m practicing a pattern and attempting to bend to it. I’ve spent a month or so trying to get the hang of it. I’m in the studio two to three days a week and each week it gets better but bending to pattern is so different. Tonight I began to think—why am I doing this. No one will appreciate how much harder this is for me than the complex free form bends I do. But I am keeping at it. It looks like a simple pattern but it’s really challenging.
After another month of practice and demos by the master, I had success. The bends went the way they were supposed to and the tube was smooth—no crunches and on pattern. Amazing.
Linda Sue Price, Never Say Never (work in progress)
Linda's current exhibition at TAG, Hitting the Pause Button, runs through Saturday, May 14. 
She will be part of an Artist Panel Discussion with Alison Lowe Platt and Dan Janotta on Saturday, May 7, 3pm.

If you have any question you'd like to ask Linda, leave them below in the comments.
Linda Sue Price, Question, Listen, Think, Neon, 15 x 15" x 10"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Current Exhibition: Dan Janotta, Alison Lowe Platt, Linda Sue Price

Tuesday, April 19th – Saturday, May 14th, 2016

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 23rd, 2016 from 5 – 8PM
Artist Panel Discussion: Saturday, May 7th, 2016 at 3PM

Dan Janotta – Back To The Beach
Dan Janotta, Burning Sunset, Oil on canvas, 20 x 60"
As an accomplished Los Angeles architect, Dan Janotta’s work is often detailed and technical, with a strong focus on realistically capturing the straight lines of structural subject matter. After 12 years of developing his painting style,  Janotta returns to the scene of his favorite muse; the coast and its serene energy.

Capturing impressions of the Southern California lifestyle that he has experienced for the last 30 years, Janotta’s “extreme coastal” images reflect the beauty of the sun, sand and the modern day influences of urban beach culture. While contemplative scenes of sunsets and breaking waves contrast with the gritty personal expression of tattoos and surf culture, this exhibition fully encompasses coastal living. Through the use of strong color, distinctive figurative silhouettes, and the play of sunlight off the shore, Janotta beautifully portrays his love for the beach and its inspirational and calming environment.

Alison Lowe Platt – Instinct
Alison Lowe Platt, One Cool Cat, Acrylic on canvas, 14.5 x 12.5"
In her exhibition entitled Instinct, Alison Lowe Platt presents a series of small figurative drawings and paintings created during single session live studies. With a strong interest in shape, composition, and value, Platt finds the relationship between these elements essential to each of these small works.

Fascinated by the human body and the energetic fields within each of us, Platt works with live models to capture this sense of life force. Working quickly and furiously, Platt follows her “instincts”, forcing her to stay spontaneously present. Creating both tension and abstraction with her use of light and shadow, Platt illustrates that powerful human essence through the unrefined brushwork of her compositions.

Linda Sue Price – Hitting the Pause Button
Linda Sue Price, Assume Nothing, Neon, 15 x 15 x 10"

Nothing Is Black and White. Question, Listen, Think. Linda Sue Price’s new series Hitting the Pause Button reacts to current events and proposes life lessons. She mixes words and abstract neon shapes to facilitate a dialogue, creating unexpected relationships between the two. Words are powerful expressions of thought. Price focuses on words that resonate, then develops the neon forms to colors and shapes that reflect the energy of the words.

There is an expectation that neon has a certain shape—as in letters and signs. Price subverts these assumptions: working primarily with abstract shapes is to challenge the expectation of what neon is. Deciding to add words to the work, a conscious decision was made to not make the words out of neon. Price combines the physical transformation of the medium (the bending of neon tubes) with the challenges of the imagery (the curving, abstract forms). The process that connects these relationships represents the mental process Price is interested in, a visual manifestation of a system of thought. While inspired by artists Alexander Calder, Frank Stella, Laddie John Dill and Judy Chicago, Price also is influenced by elements of historic neon signs, abstract expressionism, pop art and graphic design.